Perspective 23: active holidays – when the path itself is the destination.

In the 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Destination Germany has gained many beautiful additions to its network of cycle ways and walking trails. There are now 200 long-distance cycle routes that combine to form a network covering 70,000 km; and nearly as many signposted long-distance walks, at a total length of 200,000 km. Climbers, geocachers, windsurfers and skiers will also find plenty to keep them entertained.

The innovative spirit for which Germany is famed also applies to sporting challenges. For example, one of today’s most exhilarating niche sports – free climbing – was first practised in around 1864 in Saxon Switzerland, before its popularity spread around the world. In Destination Germany, active holidays are never out of season.

Walking

Many of the 200 or so marked trails in Destination Germany are certified for quality and maintained by volunteers. The former border regions between east and west offer a host of new discoveries, including the Harz Witches’ Trail and the Vogtland Panorama Trail. Other quality-assured paths include the 66 Lakes Trail around Berlin, the ridge trail ridge trail between the Erzgebirge mountains and the Vogtland, the Kyffhäuserweg in Thuringia and the Rennsteig, which will be signposted throughout for cross-country skiers from the 2013/2014 winter season onwards.

Cycling

Germany ’s network of long-distance cycle routes covers more than 70,000 kilometres and offers accommodation for every taste. Riverside cycle paths are ideal for day rides, offering ever-changing views. Mountain bikers will find plenty of varied and challenging trails in all of the low-lying mountain regions, including the Harz, the Black Forest, the Erzgebirge and the Eifel. If you prefer a slightly slower pace, look no further than Teltow Fläming, known as Europe’s in-line skating region. Here, to the south of Berlin, the 230 kilometres of traffic-free paths through meadows, woodland, fields and villages are perfect for skating along at your leisure. It’s also ideal for cyclists.

Tips for acti ve holidays

Not far from Dresden lies the Saxon Switzerland National Park with its exquisite natural scenery and extraordinary rock formations. High levels of adrenaline and high wind speeds are on the programme in St. Peter-Ording when the world’s best surfers gather for the Kitesurf World Cup. This niche event offers breathtaking feats by day and fantastic beach parties by night. If you prefer fresh water, head to idyllic Lake Constance in the region where Germany borders Switzerland and Austria. The lake, the largest in Germany, is encircled by a 273 kilometre cycle path.

Discover Destination Germany with our interactive map

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